How Much Does It Take To “Buy” Your Own Mobile Food Truck?

By Brian Sachs | for

Of all the questions I receive, and there are many, by far this seems to be the biggest one. The answer truly depends on many variables. Before I answer that question though this is really one of the biggest advantages of opening your own mobile restaurant.


Given our current economy and lending environment it has become a real challenge to borrow hundreds of thousands to millions to open a restaurant. What’s more frustrating is the fact that even experienced restaurant owners are having serious challenges lining up financing. Before you get discouraged look around. There are new food trucks and restaurants still opening each and every day.

IT TAKES BETWEEN 20,000 – 100,000.

Let’s take a minute and break down the costs of opening your own mobile food truck.

1.      The Truck itself – My recommendation is to purchase a used truck preferably one that has about 150,000. Our own truck is a 2002  P42-GMAC WORKHORSE. You will find these mostly as bread trucks, Fed X and other types of delivery trucks. Well maintained they should last about 500,000 plus miles. They are built for abuse.

Cost should run about $10,000- $20,000.

2.      Next we need to equip the truck. This will depend on your concept and the equipment you need to prepare your foods and outfit the truck to meet your local regulations. In this case I would NOT recommend used equipment but would instead opt for sturdy middle of the road equipment. Also allow 3-5000 to wrap or paint your vehicle.

$30,000- 75,000

3.      Next you should have about 6 -12 months of operating capital on hand. Again this depends on your concept and employee needs etc.
20,000- 60,000 dollars

4.      You must also set aside some money for liscenses , permits, and other start up costs.
This may vary widely depending on your location.
$3000- $15,000

So there you have it. On the low end you will need about $40,000 – $100,000 to be in business. Please note that this will vary wildly based on locations. Also note that you don’t have to come up with all of this money in cash. There are many traditional and creative financing options I have helped my consulting clients with. In fact just last week I assisted a new food truck owner and he was able to get “on the road” with only 15,000 in cash out his own pocket. In future articles I will cover some of these creative techniques.

In future articles I will cover more specifics about the fast growing trend of Mobile Restaurants. If you have any questions you would like to see me cover please send an e-mail to

Brian Sacks is the founder of offering consulting services to those exploring the option of opening their own Mobile Restaurant. He has put together the only complete step by step course on starting and profiting from the mobile food business at